Saturday, March 23, 2024

Review - The Love Remedy

Title:   The Love Remedy
Author:  Elizabeth Everett
Series:  The Damsels of Discovery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:   March 19, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars


When a Victorian apothecary hires a stoic private investigator to protect her business, they learn there’s only one way to treat true love—with a happily ever after.

When Lucinda Peterson’s recently perfected formula for a salve to treat croup goes missing, she’s certain it’s only the latest in a line of misfortunes at the hands of a rival apothecary. Outraged and fearing financial ruin, Lucy turns to private investigator Jonathan Thorne for help. She just didn’t expect her champion to be so . . . grumpy?

A single father and an agent at Tierney & Co., Thorne accepts missions for a wide variety of employers—from the British government to wronged wives. None have intrigued him so much as the spirited Miss Peterson. As the two work side by side to unmask her scientific saboteur, Lucy slips ever so sweetly under Thorne’s battered armor, tempting him to abandon old promises.

With no shortage of suspects—from a hostile political group to an erstwhile suitor—Thorne’s investigation becomes a threat to all that Lucy holds dear. As the truth unravels around them the cure to their problems is they must face the future together.

Elizabeth Everett has regaled her readers with a new series. It is the Damsels of Distress, and the first book is The Love Remedy. In this historical romance we have another STEM heroine, much like the heroines in Everett's The Secret Scientists of London series. This book is the first in a new spinoff series where women are not fitting into the molds of society of their time. Instead, their love of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is their focus in love, with romance entering into the picture.

Lucy is an apothecary. What is more is that her father left her the business, instead of one or both of her siblings, and that would include her brother David. David was certain the business would pass onto him, but even so, he and their younger sister Juliet all work together in one fashion or another. In this story, Lucy is beside herself when her lover Duncan wanted much more than she was ever prepared to give. In fact, keeping her family's apothecary running might just come to an end when Lucy discovers that Duncan has stolen a critical formula from her. Lucy hires Jonathan Thorne to retrieve the formula. Although acting in the capacity of private investigator, he comes into the family's business as their new bookkeeper.

Both Lucy and Thorne present as strong and independent people. Lucy, fighting in a field usually left for me. With regard to Thorne, he had a young daughter out of wedlock and chose to have her as a huge part of his life, paying close attention to her care and education. Of course, society simply did not bode well for those born 'on the other side of the cloth'. For Thorne, his daughter Sadie is everything to him and it was refreshing to read a historical romance where this was the case.

Lucy and Thorne are perfect for one another. Besides the fact that they are both as smart as a whip, they are impossibly drawn to one another, with the sexual tension between them nearly jumping off of the pages. I definitely look forward to continuing with the second book in this series.

Many thanks to Berkley and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

Please enjoy the following excerpt:
THE LOVE REMEDY by Elizabeth Everett
Berkley Romance Trade Original |
March 19, 2024

Lucy's guilt had been squeezing the breath from her lungs for weeks.

On the counter, slightly dented from having been crushed in her fist, then thrown to the ground and stepped on, then heaved against the wall, sat a grimy little tin. Affixed to the top was a label with the all-too-familiar initials RSA. Rider and Son Apothecary.

Rider and Son. The latter being the primary reason for this very worst of days.

The longer she stared at the tin, the less Lucy felt the strain of responsibility for running Peterson's Apothecary and keeping her siblings housed and fed. Beneath the initials were printed the words Rider's Lozenges. The ever-present exhaustion that had weighed her down moments ago began to dissipate at the sight of the smaller print beneath, which read "exclusive." The more she stared, the more her guilt subsided beneath a wave of anger that coursed through her blood. "Exclusive patented formula for the relief of putrid throats."

Exclusive patented formula.

The anger simmered and simmered the longer she stared until it reached a boil and turned to rage.

Grabbing her paletot from the coatrack and a random bonnet that may or may not have matched, Lucy stormed out of the shop, slamming the door behind her with a vengeance that was less impressive when she had to turn around the next second to lock it.

Exclusive patent.

The words burned in her brain, and she clenched her hands into fists.

One warm summer afternoon four months ago, Lucy had been so tired, she'd stopped to sit on a park bench and had closed her eyes. Only for a minute or two, but long enough for a young gentleman passing by to notice and be concerned enough for her safety to inquire as to her well-being.

While the brief rest had been involuntary, remaining on the bench and striking up a conversation with the handsome stranger was her choice, and a terrible one at that. Lucy had allowed Duncan Rider to walk her home, not questioning the coincidence that the son of her father's rival had been the one to find her vulnerable and offer his protection was down to her own stupidity.

Now, as Lucy barreled down the rotting walkways of Calthorpe Street, she barely registered the admiring glances from the gentlemen walking in the opposite direction or the sudden appearance of the wan November sun as it poked through the gray clouds of autumn.

Instead, her head was filled with memories so excruciating they jabbed at her chest like heated needles, rousing feelings of shame alongside her resentment.

Such as the next time she'd seen Duncan, when he appeared during a busy day at the apothecary with a pretty nosegay of violets. He'd smelled like barley water and soap, a combination so simple and appealing it had scrambled her brains and left her giddy as a goose.

Or the memory of how their kisses had unfolded in the back rooms of the apothecary, turning from delightfully sweet to something much more carnal. How kisses had proceeded to touches, and from there even more, and how she'd believed it a harbinger of what would come once they married.

A shout ripped Lucy's attention back to the present, and she jerked back from the road, missing the broad side of a carriage by inches. The driver called out curses at her over his shoulder, but they bounced off her and scattered across the muddied street as Lucy turned the corner onto Gray's Inn Road.

Halfway through a row of weathered stone buildings, almost invisible unless one knew what to look for, a discreet brass plaque to the left of a blackened oak door read:

Tierney & Co., Bookkeeping Services

Lucy took a deep breath, pulling the dirty brown beginnings of a London fog into her lungs and expelling it along with the remorse and shame that accompanied her memory of Duncan holding her handwritten formula for a new kind of throat lozenge she'd worked two years to perfect.

"I'll just test it out for you, shall I?" he'd said, eyes roaming the page. Duncan and his father had long searched for a throat lozenge remedy that tasted as good as it worked. Might Duncan be tempted to impress his father with her lozenge? His lips curled up on one side as he read, and Lucy recalled the slight shadow of foreboding moving across the candlelight in the back storeroom where they carried out their affair.

"I don't know," she'd hedged.

Too late. He'd folded the formula and distracted her with kisses.

"I've more space and materials at my disposal. I know you think this is ready to sell, but isn't it better that we take the time to make sure?"

It might have been exhaustion that weakened Lucy just enough that she took advantage of an offer to help shoulder some of her burdens. However, the decision to let Duncan Rider walk out of Peterson's Apothecary with a formula that was worth a fortune was due not to her sleepless nights, but to a weakness in her character that allowed her to believe a man when he told her he loved her.

Now, four months later, somehow Duncan had again betrayed her.

Having already lost the lozenge formula to Duncan's avaricious grasp, Lucy had been horrified to find a second formula missing. She'd come up with a salve for treating babies' croup, a remedy even more profitable than the lozenges. What parent wouldn't pay through the nose to calm a croupy baby?

Lucy was certain that Duncan must have found out about her work and stolen both the formula and ingredient list for the salve.

This time, Lucy would not dissolve into tears and swear never to love again. This time, she was going eviscerate her rival and get her formula back.

Then she would swear never to love again.

Excerpted from The Love Remedy by Elizabeth Everett Copyright © 2024 by Elizabeth Everett. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Everett lives in upstate New York with her family. She likes going for long walks or (very) short runs to nearby sites that figure prominently in the history of civil rights and women's suffrage. Her series is inspired by her admiration for rule breakers and belief in the power of love to change the world.


1 comment:

  1. Nice to see a new historical romance series coming out. And focusing on accomplished women, too.